This summer, Gooners the world over prayed, wished, and made sacrificial offerings – all of this and more, to ensure Arsenal finally purchase a striker fit for capturing the Premier League.
Despite the transfer window being open for only four days, our wishes appeared to come true, as Arsenal officially announced the signing of a striker.
Welcome to Arsenal………Takuma Asano?
Asano was certainly not top of anyone’s list when our aspiring minds drifted towards goal-getters. The names that predictably littered social networks were of the ilk of Lacazette, Benzema, Icardi. Takuma Asano is a name that most have never heard of, never mind making a shortlist of striking desires.
So who is Takuma Asano?
And why shouldn’t Arsenal fans be worried?
Asano was signed from Sanfrecce Hiroshima, after appearing eighty nine times, bagging twenty five goals and thirteen assists. The twenty one year old right footed striker (twenty two in November), has also made five appearances for the senior Japanese International team, scoring one goal.
So, on the face of things, Asano has an eye for goal, although the Japanese League cannot be considered a parallel in terms of transferring his talents to the Premier League.
One facet to this signing carries an Arsene Wenger trademark – Asano is a speed merchant. Wenger prefers his attackers to be fleet of foot and the majority of his acquisitions that occupy the final third can be said to be ‘rapid.’
Well, Asano is no different. It is reported that he can run fifty metres in 5.9seconds – so he will surely rival Hector and Theo in a race.
The Japanese international earned the moniker ‘The Jaguar” back home, thanks to his predatory instincts allied with his rapier pace, and he was awarded the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award in 2015. His trademark goal celebration is apparently a ropey impression of the snarling feline, so if all else fails, we have that to look forward to…..
It is assumed the young Japanese player will be farmed out on loan, and his destination will be a good gauge to see how Arsene rates him. If he goes to a top flight side, then he will be nearer to the first team than we all initially realised. If he goes to a lower league side, then he can’t be written off, but he will need a lot more time to adapt.
Asano is not the striker that we have all waited for. Asano is not merely a signing to boost shirt sales in the Orient – although it is certainly a factor worth considering. Asano looks to be a huge face in Japan, and the fact he will be seen representing Arsenal eventually will mean a larger slice of the untapped fanbase.
Asano though, is highly rated, and was heavily scouted in the recent Toulon tournament, which saw England – led by none other than our very own Calum Chambers – triumph. If Takuma can avoid the path trod by fellow Japanese Arsenal players – Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi – then he may just be able to buck the trend.
Asano has the talent, but a move across continents is always difficult, and the learning curve will be ridiculously steep for him. Make no mistake, he will have a huge task to make the first-team squad, never mind our first eleven.
His future rests on his destination for the coming season, and how he performs. Our transfer window is far from over though.
A portion of Gooners are of the opinion that Asano represents the striker that Arsene Wenger intended to buy, but he is merely another player that could potentially, in the future, be an Arsenal asset. We cannot say with any degree of conviction whether Arsene will again dip into the clubs coffers for a big player, after signing Granit Xhaka so early in the summer break, but the window runs for another seven weeks.
There is plenty of time to panic about our lack of investment, and about the negative soundbites and propaganda coming from the club. As of this moment though, we know precious little about our summer window plans, and it is far too early to get carried away.
We need to calm down, and ignore the inevitable spending sprees that are occurring in Manchester and Chelsea. The figures and players revolving around these clubs was always going to happen, as United, City and Chelsea needed to rebuild their squads.
Breathe a little easier, we have plenty of time to make the difference.
Takuma Matata, what a wonderful phrase. It means no worries, for the rest of your days……………..or at least until the end of July.